A humpback whale was seen Inchydoney beach, near Clonakilty in West Cork earlier this week, and even got friendly with a paddle boarder.
According to the website Ireland’s Wildlife, the whales were possibly drawn into the area by the small fish called sand eels, a crucial food source to the whale. While humpbacks are regular visitors to the Irish coast, what was unusual was how close to shore the whale was feeding.
A whale got extremely close to paddle boarder Jason Coniry.
“I still can't believe this happened but she swam right toward my board, rolled on her back and submersed just feet in front; she lifted me and the board very gently out of the water with her pectoral fin and then circled a few times passing under again,” the Corkman told BreakingNews.ie.
“After being lifted from the water I ended up on the whale's side for a moment. Such a magnificent creature and such a magical experience. I feel very grateful.”
He warned that whales need to be treated with utmost respect.
“It’s not a good idea for everyone to jump in the water with these animals,” said Coniry, a lifeguard who has surfed and paddleboarded regularly for years.
“Instinct guides us as to when it’s unsafe. The whale’s movements are very intentional and accurate. If it did not want us near it, we would definitely have known.”
“We all should be respectful of our own limitations, and we must be respectful of these animals.”
“Our Irish coastline is largely unexplored and untapped, the West coast is one of the best places in the world to explore by paddleboard and we have amazing lakes and waterways all over the country. It’s great to be able to make the most of that,” he said.
In this video, Coniry can be seen interacting with the 25 foot humpback in West Cork: